The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
In 1990 Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. President Bill Clinton awarded Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1995 -- the highest honor given to civilians in the United States -- for his role as Earth Day founder.
Earth Day 2000 had 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people. Earth Day 2010 was focused on Earth Day Network which reconfirmed Earth Day as a powerful focal point around which people could demonstrate their commitment.
Mobilize the Earth. Earth Day. 4.22.12
And as you all know, my particular environmental interest revolves around nuclear awareness. We still are not sure of the far reaching effects of the Fukushima disaster. Dr. Helen Caldicott of Boston said if the number 4 nuclear reactor had a further meltdown and explosion of radioactive material she would evacuate her family to South America. There are further admissions of radioactive water being leaked into the ocean from the Fukushima site. The past Prime Minister Kan of Japan has stated he was not aware of how dangerous nuclear plants can be. He now wants all the plants closed in Japan and decommissioned. He reminds us that hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and cannot return to their homes because of this disaster.
Studies are now showing increased rates of cancer in certain of the populations residing next to nuclear reactors. 50% of the people polled around selected nuclear plants stated they had no idea what to do if the warning sirens went off. We may have to wait twenty years to see the full effects of the radiation released from Fukushima. Hopefully it will not be another Silent Spring.